Like many people I have boxes of “stuff”. Most of the things contained really do not matter to anyone, even myself. However a few boxes contain memories that have strong emotion, whether they be things like jewelry, old letters, awards, newspaper clippings, or whatever and it is those items, and the most powerful memory magnet of all, photographs, that is my subject today.
If my elders had lived in the digital age I wonder if I would have any tidbits of their lives in boxes? If my grandfather had a cell phone with all his contacts and messages would I see fit to keep it squirreled away, and even if I did would I have the proper battery and charger to glimpse into his life?
How many of us today embrace our digital cameras and phones, post pictures on Facebook or our personal websites? How many of us actually have a real backup of our digital treasures? And even more important, how many have a hard copy of these “things” we hold so dear? And what of our children and grandchildren once we are gone? Will they have a digital treasure of our lives to pass on?
I think not. Perhaps I should spend some time at Wal-Mart, or the local pharmacy having copies made of digital pictures, or perhaps I should print out some particularly compelling message board posts that made an impact in my life. Perhaps I should somehow believe there will be some sort of universal memory technology that will be developed so others may choose to see into my life once I am gone, or perhaps I should simply accept that whatever digital traces I leave behind will be flushed from some master archive a decade or so after I perish.
For all the convenience and immediate gratification technology brings, it does not come wrapped in a box.
So when one of my most trusted friends got married the other day I took the time to look through the old memory box, scan a couple of pictures, and post them online so they could be shared.
I doubt anyone will actually back up my file server or website once I am gone so I will keep my box, plus a few more boxes I don’t need, just so these memories might survive a bit longer than a delete keystroke by someone who just sees them as wasted space on a hard drive.